The Official 2019 Debt Smackdown

Welcome to the Official* 2019 Debt Smackdown! 


Happy new year everyone! 

I know a few of use have been chomping at the bit to get going with 2019's debt - so with out further ado, I present this years spreadsheet! First of all, quick thanks to everyone on here who supported this last year, and helped make sure the Google Sheet remained in tip top shape.

So what's this about? If you are holding onto some debt as you enter 2019 - and would like to get rid of it - this challenge is for you.

To the participants from last year, welcome back! For some of us, our total debts are too large to smack down completely in one calendar year, so if you're here from last year, congratulations on your progress and let's keep on doing this! In 2018, we collectively paid down over $1,500,000 in debt! An increase of OVER $600,000 than in 2017!

For all new participants, we are happy to have you join in this year! New blood is always welcome. Let's all motivate each other to pay off those debts and continue moving forward to financial freedom.

Per last year, this is a shared one between the two forums/communities. Hopefully, that won't bring any problems! (Link to the Forum post [soon])

How it works:


1. List the amount of total debt that you owe. 
This step is to give you an awareness of your current debt situation. Feel free to share, this forum is a safe and nonjudgmental place. You can also decide to keep this information private, you don't have to post your total here if you are not comfortable doing so. 

2. Post in this thread the total amount of debt you would like to pay off during the 2019 calendar year. (This part is required.) 
Feel free to break down the amounts by credit card/type of debt. Also, if you have a specific plan or some ideas on how you plan to pay down the debt, you can post that too. Maybe your plan will spark some ideas for others on how to tackle their own debts!

3. Check in monthly in this thread and report on how your debt smackdown is going. (This part is required.)

4. Post monthly on the 2019 Google Sheet to track your progress. (This part is required.)
Claim a line on the spreadsheet, and post your total debt to be paid off, and the monthly amount that you send off towards it. Some people track their total payments and don't account for interest, some people account for principal only. The method you choose is up to you!

If you come across this challenge later in the year, no worries, you can still jump right in. Just put zeroes in the months where you had not joined the challenge yet, and start in the month you join in. 
 

Last year, we collectively paid off $1,500,000. Let's smash that number again in 2019!

Please let me know any issues with the sheet - sometimes things are a bit wonky when making new ones!

*Official in the sense that there's a spreadsheet. Not official in the sense that it's made by YNAB. I'm just following naming conventions here :)

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  • Checking in for February! $2,500 paid toward debt this month.

    We had a little more set aside, but when this guy joined our family at the end of the month, and we changed our priorities. 😎

    Reply Like 10
  • Checking in with final numbers for February.....

    Starting balance                                                          Ending balance

    $67,822.59                1st Mortgage                    $67,321.24

    $15,177.75                2nd Mortgage                   $14,977.66

    $17,274.10                Car                                          $16,493.66

    Total debt paid down $1,481.88.  Debt went from $100,274.44 to $98,792.56 - under $100,000!!  

    In addition, we used our tax refund to get us to a full 1 month ahead and back fill some of our true expense categories.

    Reply Like 7
      • rushiec
      • I choose forwards!
      • rushiec
      • 8 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Whiskey Mama great numbers!  I don't even *count* our mortgages in my 'debt' numbers.   They are kind of 'off budget' for me as we each pay for a share of household/shared expenses and some of his happen to be the mortgages.

      Seems like you are flying :)

      You've made me go look...thanks for the prompt!

      Reply Like 3
    • rushiec thank you!  When I first started this challenge I was only focused on the car debt because we’re trying to pay it off this year.  But then I faced our total debt and decided to include the mortgages as well.  Seeing the whole picture changes things and makes me more determined to get out of debt! Best of luck to you on your journey! 

      Reply Like 3
  • Hi, I'm Tina. I am pretty new to YNAB but I am committed and I really need to make a change. I have almost exactly 40k in debt, which I accumulated through a number of bad decisions and one good one, cc's, car loan, personal loans, and a student loan. My balance on my smallest card is only $205 so that's this months goal. Looking to the future, I was thinking $100 a month so I can focus on step two.  

    Thanks

    Tina

    Reply Like 9
    • I forgot to mention I have claimed line 237

      Reply Like
    • Tina of the Valley Welcome! It sounds like you're setting yourself up for a great balance of planning ahead and knocking out debt 😀

      Reply Like
  • Hi, I‘m Vivienne and I have just started using the YNAB app, soaking up the Whiteboard Wednesday videos on YT. I have almost €14000 in debt comprising overdraft, IKEA cc and Visa cc.  I am aiming to halve my debt in 2019 while slowly building a buffer. Using the YNAB app is giving me the peace of mind that I can achieve this and clearly shows what I need to change. Amazon is missing me already:) 

    It‘s good to know that I am not alone on this path to taking back control of personal finances! 

    Reply Like 10
    • Vivienne Amazon has been missing me too! I swear I see more and more ads the more determined I get to pay off the debt! 😬

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica at YNAB 

      I remember noticing the ads too when I went on no-buy to get my house in order.  It certainly felt like a conspiracy at the time. 😄

      Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance It drives me crazy! Although, I do get targeted for a lot of YNAB ads 😂

      Reply Like 1
  • over 4000 paid off ytd!  just over 19k left!

    Reply Like 11
  • March check-in: Made my extra payment to my car loan, and my private and federal student loan auto payments are set for the month. So another $1348 down, and the spreadsheet is updated. But I'm hopeful once I get my tax return and bonus later this month that I will be able to set aside for key savings goals, and then use the leftovers for more debt paydown. Hard to wait to see how much it will be, but patience and all. One month at a time.

    Reply Like 6
  • First check in for March.... $1,866 towards the initial balance of $10,416 so far I have paid off $6.265 or 60% of my debt.  Still on track for a May payoff date.  Still hoping to throw another $500 or so at this by the end of March.   I can't wait to finish this payoff and then crank up my retirement savings.  Time to grow that baby!!!

    Reply Like 7
    • Pediheartrn That is fantastic! 🎉

      Reply Like
  • Tax refund came and added some of that to the Mortgage. This month also celebrates my mortgage turning one year old. If I would have stuck to the standard payment I would have only paid off $1,455 😱! Instead, I managed to knock it down over $8,000 in the first year and have now reduced my interest payment by $33.65. 

    • Starting Balance (January  2019): $69,112.11
    • Current Balance: $65,539.52
    • Paid Off this Year: $3,572.59

    Overall Progress Update:

    • Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
    • Total Paid Off: $8,860.48
    Reply Like 14
    • Madkat-Z Well done!

      Reply Like 1
    • Madkat-Z Congratulations on one year! Those numbers are amazing. Nice job! You're inspiring me to make some budget changes. 😉

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Madkat-Z 

      Being aggressive on your payments this early in your loan will cut years off your mortgage and save you thousands in interest!  Well done!

      Reply Like 4
  •  March check-in:

    I sent another $400 to my Mastercard debt, reducing my principle by $394.10. Remaining balance is $7203.65. 

    Reply Like 8
  • The system went down for maintenance right in the middle of me trying to post last night, let's see if I do better this time...

    1) As of February, it was $75,000 for our Heloc
    2) $25,000. My goal is to get the principal down to $50k by June. We are getting some more windfalls (state tax refund and one time bonus) that should do that without very much restructuring of my budget.
    Because we're parking some long term savings there as well, though, I have a stretch goal of getting the principal down to $45k by December. That would mean the principal really was paid down by 50k, even with the temporary parking of savings there. Because our budget is snug, it really will be a stretch to find that extra 5k.
    3) Thanks to windfalls already received (annual bonus and fed tax return), I've already paid the principal down by over 8k. 
    4) I'm line 241. I'm hoping that posting our progress will not only help me celebrate our success but help me remember the value of not dipping into the HELOC more than planned.

    Reply Like 5
      • Alia Gee
      • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
      • Pink_Keyboard
      • 7 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Alia Gee I pumped 14000 of the bonus money into the HELOC. I just need to find 2k more to feel safe about our debt load. One of the tenant's attack of life continues, but the new tenant should be caught up with rent by the end of the month. And we already have one Airbnb booking for this month ($600!) that will help with things feeling tight. And by June we'll have paid Social Security so the paychecks should get bigger. I'm feeling pretty good that we're staying within budget even without Airbnb and bigger paychecks. More in journal...

      Reply Like 5
  • March check in.  $380 AUD paid.  That's about 16% of the total I want to pay this year.  Still on track for achieving that by July 2019.

    I waited until 27/02 to make the Feb payment....but realised I shouldn't - as it allows me to make this repayment a WAM category.   Now that I have paid it (and haven't yet received a pay for March due to our fortnights), I just have to balance the rest of the budget 😶 

    Reply Like 5
  • First check-in (March):

     

    I had money invested which is pointless when in debt so withdrew that and paid off a loan in one go today and because I paid it off early I saved a bit of interest, very satisfying! When I receive the rest of my investment and get paid I should be able to pay off another debt this month. Two down in one month and just two to go so very happy.

     

    YNAB really helps keep my spending in check while I focus on the debt.

    Reply Like 9
  • Debts:

    Car - $4672.67

    IRS - $15,383.51

    Student Loan - $25,198.77

     

    Goal: pay off car by the end of the year (at the latest)

    Reply Like 7
    • ecr250 Welcome! I'm excited to see your progress this year as you get that car paid off! 

      Reply Like
  • Hello all,

    I'm new to YNAB.  

    Debts:

    Car- $4259.02

    Waterproofing- $15,249.98

    Student Loan- $52,560.42

     

    I've paid off $5,736.13 so far this year on my car. I'm really anxious to get it paid off and was able to get a chunk gone due to a tax refund and throwing anything else that I can at it. 

    I'm still waiting on my ex-husband's refund that will go to me because he is behind on child support. That should be another $2k. I'm really trying to get the car paid off by the end of July if at all possible. 

    I'm doing things a little different than Dave Ramsey would say I should- currently my student loan is in forebearance- still accruing interest. I did this because I wanted to be able to get my car paid off faster. It has helped, but I know it's not good to also keep accruing interest and letting it fester. 

    Have any of you done similar things with student loans- did it help or did you regret it? 

    Reply Like 3
      • Alia Gee
      • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
      • Pink_Keyboard
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Gold Song So this was 20 years ago, when as long as you had a bachelor's degree you could get a decent office job... but yes, I had my gov't student loan in forbearance for a year after college and it was a great decision for me at the time. The interest rate was low, and I figured this was the only time I'd have the freedom to travel. I went to England, worked odd jobs and had once in a lifetime experiences. Also I met a charming gent. Soooo for me it was the right decision: in April, the charming gent and I will be 19 years married. :)

      Reply Like 4
    • Gold Song The wonderful aspect of YNAB is that the only person who is the boss of your budget is you. If paying off your car first is  your priority and helps you move toward your goals, then it's right for you. Dave Ramsey need never know. Best of luck on your goals!

      Reply Like 7
  • I went backwards this month and incurred debt (impulse spending on credit cards - YIKES!). My new debt total is $8,872.78. I added $1,206.59 in new debt. My new monthly minimum payment total is $259 (+ $18). I will pay $382.15 this month which is more than the $367 I thought I would pay. I will pay an additional $300+ at the end of the month. Next month I will pay the minimums and an additional $300+ and will try to do that every month going forward. I have updated the spreadsheet to reflect my current status. I have tightened the budget up even more and have a plan to pay off all my debt by winter of 2020.

    Reply Like 2
    • internettie Oh no, were these purchases that you "needed", or are you using shopping as a form of therapy?  I only ask because getting and staying out of debt has a lot more to do with behavior than it does money.  Perhaps you can return an item or two?  Or maybe sell some old things to help pay this down quickly.  Otherwise stay the course.  I know you've been working so hard at this!

      Reply Like 2
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Whiskey Mama some were things that I needed and some were things that I wanted. I've had a wish list for about a year and I lost my mind and ordered everything on my list. I am returning some stuff already. I also am selling old stuff I don't need. I'm not unhappy with the purchases themselves, I just wish I had waited until I had the money to purchase this stuff. I went ahead and did everything I can to make shopping online difficult (no access to my CCs, no shopping sites on my web browser, cut up the credit cards, cancelling Amazon Prime account, etc.). I was using the spending as therapy. March is a very difficult month for me personally/emotionally and instead of using the strategies and tools I have used in the past to get through it, I spent money. I'm not beating myself up. I am learning from this spending spree though. I know that for me it is all behavior. I am keeping a journal and working through the emotional/mental part of money. I have a long family/marital history of negative money habits that I am working on with my therapist to come to terms with. I think two of the most important things I did were to have no access to my CC numbers, expiration dates, etc. and no longer allowing myself to have a wish list anywhere online. If I really need something I'll remember it even if it's not on a list. I don't feel defeated. I actually feel motivated and focused. I have a good budget and plan and will work toward being out of debt by the end of 2020! Thanks for your response!

      Reply Like 4
    • internettie that's awesome - sounds like you have a handle on the issue.  I can tell you from experience that I had a lot of the same issues - still do at times.  I've been following your journey and wish you well!

      Reply Like 2
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Whiskey Mama thank you! ❤️

      Reply Like
  • I hope it's ok that I have joined in. I have been an on/off user of YNAB since YNAB3 days! Today I have committed to be an on/on user.

    I have approx $11K debt on my work credit card (I'm self employed), $10K on my personal credit card, and about $3k owing to the tax department. 

    The tax is my first priority. I have lots of invoices owing to me, and am hoping that it all comes in soon so I can get the tax paid off quickly.

    My overall aim for debt reduction this year is $6k from today. 

    Reply Like 8
      • Lees75
      • Lees75
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      I should have mentioned, I'm from Adelaide, Australia :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Lees75 Of course it's okay! We're glad you're here :)

      Reply Like
  • Last july when I first began to usae YNAB I had 16 120$ debt comprising of :
    8650$ credit card debt
    4630 line of credit
    2340$ car loan
    around 500$ of misc loan from friends

    for this exercise, I do not consider my student load because I have a very low rate. I will pay it in the maximum time allowed since I can acheive investment with better returns.

    I had my first child in november so I did not pay as much debt as I wanted but I think I am on my way.
    As this date, I acheive to get it to: 13 465$
    My credit card did not move that much at 8550$
    the line of credit get down to 4150$
    The car load is on is way to 0$ at 765$
    I have no more small loan

    My goal is to acheive to pay the car loan completly and 5000$ of my credit card debt
     

    Reply Like 6
    • Gray Router Congratulations on your brand new family member! And for not accruing more credit card debt during that time, I know it can be stressful. That car loan is barely hanging on! I'm looking forward to following your progress through the year

      Reply Like
  • Thanks for this challenge, I'm joining in!

    My situation: I started YNAB mid-January of this year. Over the past year, I've opened a new credit card with 0% interest until July 2019 to cover some larger expenses, and unfortunately I fell into the trap of using it to buy things without too much accountability. I've never had debt before, and I've always paid my credit card in full before that - even though I was living on the credit card float. 

    Now 2019 arrived, and I figured I should start to seriously pay back this credit card before July to avoid the interest fees. I have accumulated about $10,000 of debt on that card. 

    My goal is to pay it back by July, and I've been putting about $2000 each month toward this payment. Ouch, it has definitely hurt my life style, but I can live frugally when I need to, so that's what I'm doing. It's very tight, but I think I can make it work. 

    My main issue has been that I'm still using this CC for my expenses, and I have to manage reimbursable expenses from my work, which YNAB doesn't handle easily. So I've been mixing things up a bit at the beginning, and the money I thought I was using to pay off the credit card ended up being spent on other things. I know ideally I should stop using this card to make things simpler, but I really don't want to; I want the more-than-average reward points I get from it (I use them to fly home to Europe where I'm from at least once a year, and I don't want to sacrifice that), and I'd rather not have to change all my automatic payments. So I'm pretty set to using it, and make YNAB work for me in this situation. 

    I have an emergency fund that I could use to pay off some of the credit card if, in July, I happen to not have met my goal, but I'd really like to avoid that...

    Reply Like 5
      • Gray Router
      • Gray_Router.4
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      nomade0  I use my CC for everyday expenses even the reimbursable ones. YNAB will automatcly adjust your money so the money going to the CC payment balance the expenses. As for the reimbursable, I consider that expenses like everything else, after all, its going on my card and it's affecting the balance and the interest payment. Indeed ,even if an expense is going to be reimbursed, I have to front the money for a period of time and it's money not going to pay off the balance. I threat the folloing reimbursement as any other income source to be budgeted. I do have a expense category "To be reimburse" in wich I allocate money in it.

      Reply Like 2
  • Well I got the final paperwork for the student loans that were wrote off. A bit more than $10,000 principal forgiven and a whopping $108,500 in interest and penalties.  All cleared off my records and I am no longer responsible to pay it. 

    Reply Like 6
      • Gold Song
      • Gold_Song.6
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) How did you get it forgiven? 

      Reply Like
    • Gold Song I have been totally disabled since 2003, receive SSDI so I went through their process. Thing is that the paperwork was done way back in 2005, but at that time the loans were with the lenders not the Department of Education, paperwork was never transferred to them and in 14 years and moving from coast to coast, a divorce and downsizing it was lost. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Congrats on finally getting it all settled! I've followed your saga on this one, and I know it wasn't easy. Hopefully, this provides you a relief and some more freedom, with the last of the debt cleared.

      Reply Like 2
  • Another $175 out of this pay paid so $800 so far this month.  

    I checked the payoff on our car this morning and am sooooooo tempted to pay it off with our emergency fund. (Made a post in the FB fan group if you're on there) but at this point, I think we're going to hold tight at least for now and stay with the current plan.  Car will be paid off regardless in 4 months but it's hard to not just make the jump and get the loan completely off my plate!

    Reply Like 4
      • Skeettafic
      • Tan_Lion.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Just realized I mathed wrong somewhere along the way - actually have paid $1100 this month

      Reply Like 5
  • March Check in:  I paid another $2822 across all my debts.  Last month I paid off one of them so now I only have 4!  It was nice to not have worry about paying that one.  And with the Snowball it looks like I'll get a second one paid off in August!  If I can get a little extra cash, maybe I can get that one done sooner.  But I'm thinking I should also probably work on Aging our money, I'm only about 1 paycheck ahead right now (I get paid twice a month) so it still feels like I'm living paycheck to paycheck.  

    Reply Like 6
  • March

    Paid $1,788.26 across all my credit card, with the large bulk of it ($1,500) going towards my Discover card. I am on track to paying it off by October since my 0% APR balance ends in November.  

    Also went on vacation this month and stuck with my cash budget.

    Some days it's really hard to stick with the plan and I feel demotivated  but I'm trying to think about how I will feel in December when most of the debts have been paid off.

    Reply Like 9
      • Gold Song
      • Gold_Song.6
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tishy Wishy It'll be here before you know it!

      Reply Like 1
    • Tishy Wishy Congrats on sticking with it! You will definitely love the feeling of accomplishment come December, so it will all be worth it.  

      Reply Like
    • Gold Song you're so right!

      Reply Like
    • Spring Green Rain Thank you for the encouragement!

      Reply Like 1
  • I'm so excited! I got my ex-husband's tax refund for the child support he was behind on. It was $2245. I had been saving for a car and had saved $10k, but since my ex-husband wasn't working and wasn't playing child support I ended up not being able to save up as much as I had wanted to and my old car kept breaking down so I ended up financing the car I have now. I hate having a car payment! So over the last year (It'll be a year that I've had the car on March 17th) I have worked so hard to get this paid down. Once the payment goes through on Monday, I'll only have $1654 left on my car!! It was originally $27k. Once I pay the car off, I'll just have my waterproofing loan and my student loans!

    My waterproofing loan has a high interest rate. Do you think it would be a good idea to refinance it or just pay aggressively? I owe a little over $15k on the waterproofing loan @ 9.99% interest.

    Reply Like 7
    • Gold Song If you can refinance it for a better rate, and also snowball your car payments into this loan once your car is paid off, then you get the benefit of both paying aggressively and less in interest.  But I'd suggest doing what makes you most comfortable within your budget and goals. 

      Reply Like
  • March has been...slower. Doing business taxes, prepping for the check we'll be writing to the IRS, cash flowing ETPs, expenses such as car registration and making sure we stay on top of our bills so that we're not using the cards. AT ALL!!! Means that we only paid down approximately $2K this month so far. I think we'll end up around $5K. The slowing momentum has made it hard to focus. I've overspent on personal care items...I must say the facial was the tipping point into excessive. We are here to confess and correct, right? I'm doing better and, Wamming like crazy from eating out. Frozen lunches here I come. Sigh.

    Reply Like 4
    • Slate Blue Vacuum Your March sounds like my February (and the facial to go along with it!). This will pass and April will feel more successful and on track! 

      Reply Like 1
  •  Let's see, it's the middle of March, and my last post was a January check-in, that was apparently not from the end of the month, because right at the tail end of January, we got our DCFSA reimbursement, and put half of that on the Citi Card.  So final January numbers were actually:

    January check-in:
    Car loan: 361.57
    Citi Card: 211.69 1057.39
    Total Paid: 1418.96

    % of $7,500: 18.9%

    % of $10,000: 14.2%

    % of $12,500: 11.4%

     

    Nothing too exciting happened in February.  We made our normal payments, and I was able to put a little extra I scraped out of my budget in, but that wasn't much.

    February Checkin:

    Car loan: 362.42

    Citi Card: 166.23

    Total Paid: 528.65

    Cumulative total: 1947.61

    % of 7,500: 26%

    % of 10,000: 19.5%

    % of 12,500: 15.6%

     

    March is shaping up to be a very productive month.  Tax refunds came in and half of those got plunked down on the Citi card, so it's quite happy looking these days.  Even if I didn't put an extra penny on it beyond our normal monthly $150, it would still be clear before the 0% ends on it.  I'll probably still try to focus it down, because I want to be able to start using it for monthly shared budget expenses and not have to keep track of having both shared budget and personal budget expenses on my CapitalOne card.  It's more a situation of it being hassle reducer to pay off sooner at this point than a monetary optimization choice.  But still, (lack of) my headache time has to be worth something.

    Reply Like 7
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